Lance knew that he was in trouble from the moment that the paladins suggested reliving family moments through the mind meld in order to grow closer as a team. He knew he shouldn’t have lied in the first place and then continued to lie on top of that lie then on top of that lie and so on...
Now as his team sits in a circle around him, deciding what family memories to share with the group, he is panicking, trying to construct a memory with a family that he doesn’t have. His panic must have been evident on his face as seconds later Keith us rolling his eyes and letting out a soft scoff.
“Come on now Lance, even I have a memory to share with the team. You always talk about your family so just hurry up and choose a memory.” Keith says giving Lance a slightly annoyed look then turns back to face the rest of the team who is smiling fondly as they all try to pick the best memory of their families.
“Right, of course. I’ve got tons of great family memories...” Lance mumbles trying to keep his voice even and not sound stressed about trying to make up a memory. Try as he might, he can’t think of a single memory from when he was younger that may give off the impression that he has a family so he decides the best thing to do is just pick a memory that will explain the truth to the team.
Lance let’s the others volunteer to go before him in sharing their memories and the other joke about how Lance thinks his memory is the best so he wants to save it for last. In reality he couldn’t be dreading his turn more.
When his time finally comes he takes a deep breath and let’s himself fall into the memory, reliving it along with his friends.
It’s the day after Lance’s 17th birthday. He is playing with the younger kids of the orphanage he lives in and smiles at how happy he can make them by playing a few games with them. In some ways he felt like a big brother to these children and he wanted nothing more than to see them happy and to find a family that loves them. Unlike him...
It’s too late for him. He’s pretty much run out of time. Almost no family wants to adopt a teenager let alone a 17 year old from Cuba with anxiety. He knows he’s only got one year to figure out how to make enough money to take care of himself. He has one year to figure out what to do after he has to leave the orphanage. He has one year until he loses all chances of finding a family who loves him and gets thrown out of the only home he has ever known.
Lance tells the children he is playing with that he will be right back before getting up to go ask the women who run this place if he could take more shifts at the pizza place he works at. He approaches the door of the office and pauses when he hears his name being mentioned. He leans up against the wall next to the door and listens intently to what the women are saying.
“We need to figure out what we are going to do about Lance. I haven’t been able to find anyone willing to adopt a 17 year old. No body wants him, the poor boy’s family didn’t even want him claiming they had to many mouths to feed. We have to do something for him, to show him that someone cares about him before we have to turn him away. Maybe we could send him to that school he is always talking about... the Galaxy Garrison or whatever.” The secretary of the orphanage, a sweet woman named Olive, says to the head of the orphanage.
Lance feels like his world is crumpling in on itself. He never knew his parents and the orphanage never told him anything about them. He knew he was from Cuba and was sent over to an orphanage in the states from another orphanage in Cuba for better care along with a few others from that orphanage. He knew that something had happened to make his family not want him but he had always hoped that maybe they did want him. Maybe something bad happened and he got separated from them and they are looking for him.
But no, now he knows the truth. His family didn’t want him. He would have been an inconvenience to them. Just like he is here. An inconvenience, someone they need to figure out what to do with so they won’t have guilt on their consciences when they get rid of him just like his parents did.
Lance plasters on a fake smile and holds back the tears that had been attempting to drip down his cheeks. He sneaks away from the door of the office and back over to the children he was playing with. “So, who wants to play?”
The memory fades away and Lance becomes aware of the warm tears dripping down his cheeks from reliving the pain of finding out his family hadn’t wanted him. The other paladins turn to stare at him in shock. Hunk is also crying as he looks at Lance sadly.
Lance takes a shaky deep breath and gives them a weak smile. “T-those little kids were like my family so I technically didn’t lie about having a big family... I just lied about having a family who loved me or a mom who gave me warm hugs or you know anyone on earth who might actually miss me...” He rambles on as a sad laugh makes its way from his mouth.
Keith leans over and pulls Lance into a fierce hug which the other paladins quickly join. “Shut up, we love you. We are your family and we may not be on earth but we would definitely miss you if you went anywhere.” Keith huffs as he holds Lance close.
For the first time, Lance knew what having a real family feels like. Lance knew what it felt like to be loved and wanted.